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5 ‘Strong Buy’ Stocks Hedge Funds Are Buying Now

Looking for fresh investing inspiration? Look no further. Hedge funds have just revealed their trades for the first quarter of 2019. This means we can see which stocks the ‘Smart Money’ is buying and selling right now. In this case, we used TipRanks algorithms to look at a large set of hedge funds and measure their exposure to each stock trading on the NASDAQ and NYSE. The following five stocks all score very highly on this basis. What’s more, all five stocks also boast the Street’s seal of approval with a ‘Strong Buy’ consensus based on all ratings received over the last three months.

Interestingly, it appears that hedge funds are bullish on the market outlook despite fraught relationships between the US and China. “It would appear that the majority of hedge funds do not expect another sharp rise in volatility, and that they have concluded that the correction has run its course,” Nomura strategist Masanari Takada wrote.

With this in mind let’s now take a closer look at five ‘Strong Buy’ hedge fund stock picks from 1Q19:

Fiserv Inc (FISV – Research Report)

Fiserv is a leading US provider of financial services technology. Year-to-date this is a stock that has performed strongly, with shares surging 19%. And according to analysts, the company is primed to continue outperforming. Indeed Fiserv has just announced a $22 billion acquisition of First Data Corp (FDC)- creating an impressive payments and fintech behemoth. The pending all-stock merger is expected to close in the second half of the year. First Data secures and processes more than 3,000 transactions per second and $2.4 trillion per year.

Oppenheimer’s Glenn Greene is the #4 analyst on TipRanks out of over 5,000 tracked analysts. He is bullish on FISV stock, reiterating his buy rating after the deal was announced, and after Fiserv reported solid 1Q earnings results.

“We remain attracted to FISV’s business model and long-term prospects and are highly enthusiastic about FISV’s pending merger with FDC, which should generate significant (>$1.4B) revenue/cost synergies, and related EPS accretion, over the next five years. Trading at 19x our FY20E pro forma EPS estimate including FDC, shares appear attractive” the analyst explained.

Twilio Inc (TWLO – Research Report)

Cloud communications platform Twilio also boasts notably positive hedge fund sentiment. Twilio allows software developers to programmatically make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, and perform other communication functions using its web service APIs.

Luckily for hedge funds, shares have exploded by 54% year-to-date and 11% in the last five days alone. According to five-star Oppenheimer analyst Ittai Kidron, Twilio still has room to run given its ‘elongated high-growth trajectory.’ He has just carried out a deep-dive analysis of Twilio following the SendGrid merger, writing “our analysis yet again leaves us bullish and illustrates the upside left in the model, especially in 2H19/2020.”

This is a company that benefits from the rapid adoption of application-to-person (A2P) communication; 2) a large and growing market as communication options expand (voice, SMS, video, etc.); and 3) a successful developer-focused sales model. “Overall, we believe these elements will enable Twilio to continue to experience strong revenue growth for the foreseeable future and drive upside to consensus expectations” concludes the analyst.

Sea Limited (SE – Research Report)

If you haven’t head of Sea Limited before, this is a major Southeast Asia Internet company operating three popular online platforms. These focus on digital entertainment (Garena, gaming), eCommerce (Shopee, a third-party marketplace), and digital financial services (AirPay, e-wallet services).

“Sea operates an established, profitable asset with its Garena segment that should help fund investments in its developing businesses (Shopee, AirPay) as they scale and gain market share” cheers Top 50 Stifel Nicolaus analyst Scott Devitt. He has a buy rating on SE with a $32 price target (24% upside potential).

Devitt is confident going into the print later today, thanks to checks that indicate strong momentum for SE’s Free Fire video game. “While Free Fire’s user base is mobile-only and skews heavily to emerging markets, we continue to view the monetization potential as attractive” writes the analyst. Net-net: “With leverage to strong emerging growth markets and leading market positions, we recommend Sea as an investment idea.”

He isn’t the only one. This is a stock with four back-to-back buy ratings from the Street:

Haemonetics Corp (HAE – Research Report)

Haemonetics is a global provider of blood and plasma supplies. Its NexSys PC system is designed to enable organizations to collect more plasma with every donation. Shares are trading up 20% in the last month after a solid earnings beat in terms of profitability. What’s more, management provided strong financial guidance for FY/20, particularly in terms of non-GAAP EPS and cash flows.

“We continue to view HAE as one of the best ideas in our coverage universe” enthuses Barrington Research’s Michael Petusky. He has just reiterated his HAE buy rating with a $116 price target (16% upside potential).

“We continue to be very optimistic in terms of HAE’s key growth drivers (plasma and hospital) and remain quite bullish regarding the company’s ability to execute against its complexity reduction initiative goals. If the company was able to land any additional and sizable agreements connected to its NexSys PCS conversion activities, material additional upside to our estimates would be likely” explains Petusky.

Meanwhile Raymond James’ Lawrence Keusch has just upgraded HAE from hold to buy, citing “a path towards 21% EPS growth over the next two years.”

Regency Centers Corp (REG – Research Report)

Last but not least comes Regency Centers. This Florida-based real estate investment trust (REIT) is one of the largest operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers. It is also one of RBC Capital’s favorite stock picks. “REG remains our top idea for retail despite noise from starting larger redevelopments” states the firm’s Wes Golladay. This top-ranked analyst recently reiterated his bullish call on REG with a $72 price target.

“We believe Regency Centers remains well positioned for above-average long-term FFO/growth. The centers remain well leased, which should lead to optimal merchandising of centers and favorable pricing power on the organic front” writes the analyst.

What’s more the company’s development platform should provide an additional layer of growth, and cash flow. That’s with a balance sheet that positions REG to be opportunistic should there be increased dislocation in retail real estate. “Regency has one of the best development platforms, in our opinion, which should lead to above-average development activity vs. the peer group” writes Golladay.

Find your own ‘Strong Buy’ stocks

Here we covered hedge funds' top stock picks. Hedge fund sentiment is just one datapoint covered in the TipRanks' Smart Score. This new feature brings together all of TipRanks' unique insights- from hedge funds to insiders to bloggers- to give stocks a score out of 10. You can find 'Strong Buy' stocks with a 'perfect' score of 10 here.